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Ten years ago: Reed Richards (Alex Hyde-White) and his best friend
Victor (Joseph Culp) experiments on something that involves the meteor
Colossus - but Victor dies in the experiments ... or rather seems to die.
Now: Reed Richards wants to go to Colossus in a self-built spaceship
with his friends Ben Grimm (Michael Bailey Smith), Sue Storm (Rebecca
Staab) - who's of course in love with Reed -, and Sue's hothead brother
Johnny (Jay Underwood), however, a certain Doctor Doom, whose evilness is
even in his name and who eventually will turn out to be Reed's friend
Victor, wants to sabotage their efforts - but before he can do so, another
baddie called the Jeweller (Ian Trigger) steals the jewel that is supposed
to run Reed's ship and substitutes it for a fake.
Somehow, the foursome makes it to the meteor though, and when their
rocket crashes back to earth, they are all mysteriously unharmed, but seem
to have special powers: Reed can stretch his limbs to almost infinity, Sue
can turn invisible, Johnny can ignite himself without being harmed or
anything else for that matter, and he can fly too, and Ben ... he has
become incredibly strong and impervious to bullets, but he has also become
a monster aka The Thing (and is from now on played by Carl
Ciarfalio) - which he isn't too fond of given his former good looks.
Anyways, the four superheroes are soon apprehended by what seem to be
gouvernment agents, but soon Reed and company find out they are really
agents of Doom, and they use their powers to make a getaway.
In Reed's lab, the four are making some experiments concerning their
new superowers, but the Thing feels out of sync with the others and hits
the streets ... and soon enough, he is welcomed into the Jeweller's colony
of freaks, where he at first feels right at home - until he learns that
the Jeweller wants to make Alicia Masters (Kat Green), Ben Grimm's former
blind girlfriend, his queen. But before he can do anything much about it,
Doctor Doom has taken over the colony and lures Ben's superhero friends
there as well, to suck them dry of their superpowers ... but of course,
our heroes just use their superpowers once more to get out of a tight spot
and serve Doc Doom his just desserts ...
The genesis of this film is something of a legend: Apparently, Bernd
Eichinger and Constantin would have lost the rights on Fantastic
Four if they did not make a movie right then and there (this being
1994), but supposedly lacking funds and a proper screenplay to make the
film into the spectacle Eichinger had envisioned, he hooked up with Roger
Corman and New Horizons to make the stuff into an inexpensive
B-picture - quite fitting actually, given the trashiness of its source
material, an uninspired sci-fi-superhero comic created by Jack Kirby and
Stan Lee back in 1962. But of course, Eichinger had no plans to ever
release the film (and hasn't officially to this day), which none of the
cast and crew was told of course. However, through not quite legal
channels, the film leaked out to the interested public in various
versions, from a rough cut without music and missing most of the effects -
long thought the only version in existence - to the finished film with
everything properly in place and ready to screen - the version this review
is based on.
The question that remains is of course, is the fillm any good ?
The answer is: Not really, it's your typical 1990's low budget sci-fi
schlock in which underwhelming acting and an indifferent directorial job
clash with a underdeveloped screenplay that wastes to much time with the
story's setup to spend much time with the actual (and very muddled) main
story. And Doctor Doom just fails to impress as a villain thanks to a less
than impressive costume. On the plus side of course, the special
makeup-jobs on the Thing and the Jeweller are quite well-done, especially
given the budgetary limitations of the film - but unfortunately that's
simply not enough.